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Africa

Nice kicks-off this year's Jeux de la Francophonie

media Main stage at the Francophonie games in Nice, France Twitter / @tolsmageneva

 Today marks the opening of the 7th edition of the Francophonie games, this year being held in the southern French town of Nice. This year’s games, however, will be missed by some particpants, in particular certain African countries that are currently plagued by instability.

This morning was the opening ceremony in downtown Nice for the games. French President François Hollande was there to ring in the games along with other heads of states. But missing from the joyous occasion were athletes from Egypt and Guinea-Bissau, along with ten members from the Democractic Republic of Congo, said one of the organisers of the games.

Guinea-Bissau pulled out of the Francophonie at the last moment on Friday. The small west-African nation has been plagued by a succession of politically motivated violence and coup d’Etats. The country is building up to elections expected this November.

With Egypt in the midst of another crisis, the interim government opted to not send a delegation to attend the games. The decision by the Egyptian government was “for political and security reasons” according to a delegate from the Francophonie.

As for those still missing from the DRC delegation, it appears to be a delay in processing their visas through the Belgian embassy.

But, regardless of the absentees, 54 countries are currently participating in the games that go on until 15 September. The games are organised every four years after the Olympics wrap up the year before. 

The games were first created in 1987 during the Summit of La Francophonie in Quebec City, Canada. The mandate of the Comité International des Jeux de la Francophonie (International Committee of the Francophonie Games) reports to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (International Organisation of the Francophonie), or the OIF.

The OIF is based on the shared use of the French language and common values. Members of the OIF include over one third of the countries belonging to the United Nations.

After a 19 year absence, the games have come back to France. Nice beat out Malabo, Guinea and N’Djamena, Chad as hosts for this year’s games.

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